CDC signs nuke deal with Eskom

Coega set to play major role in development of second nuclear facility earmarked for Thyspunt

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is set to play a central role in South Africa’s new nuclear build programme. It has been tasked with supporting the government’s local capacity and supplier development programmes.

This emerged after the CDC and Eskom – the designated procurer for the nuclear build – signed a collaborative agreement yesterday on the development of the country’s second commercial nuclear facility.

The environmental assessment practitioners assigned to assess locations for the new nuclear facility, which has attracted extensive national debate, have recommended Thyspunt near Cape St Francis as the preferred site.

“Eskom and the Coega Development Corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in the development of South Africa’s nuclear new build programme (NNBP),” CDC head of marketing and communication Dr Ayanda Vilakazi said.

“The two state-owned companies will work together in support of the government’s plans to build local capacity through supplier development and localisation around the unfolding infrastructure for the nuclear programme.”

Eskom’s group capital executive, Abram Masango, said: “We are gearing ourselves up in preparation for the nuclear new build programme to deliver the project within the set timelines and budget.

“We want to ensure that South Africans get reliable, decarbonised base load power that will bring sustainable economic growth.

“In addition, it is critical to lay the foundation for local people to participate meaningfully during the various stages of the project by skilling them for jobs as well as business opportunities.”

Outlining the areas of cooperation included in the MOU, Vilakazi said the collaboration included, but was not limited to:

  • Project management and implementation services for infrastructure development;
  • Skills development and localisation;
  • Provision of the requisite skills training for different stages of the project;
  • Socioeconomic development studies in relation to the impact of the NNBP; and
  • Stakeholder engagement and communications.

“The collaboration with Eskom is aligned with the mandate of the CDC, which is to drive the creation of an industrial complex to promote integration with industry and increase value-added production, while creating employment and the associated socio-economic benefits in the region in which it is located,” CDC business development executive manager Christopher Mashigo said.

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler acknowledged the potential benefits the MOU could have for the region.

“Since the chamber has maintained a neutral stance with regard to the nuclear build programme, we have consistently been proactive in sourcing information regarding business opportunities and upskilling our membership base with regards to possible supply chain development into the future,” Hustler said.

“With this in mind, we welcome the announcement of Coega and Eskom’s signing of a MOU and trust that as a critical stakeholder in the metro, the business chamber will be included in future engagements regarding the intent of this MOU.”

Gary Koekemoer, of No Nuke PE, which has long lobbied for the Bay to be included in all nuclear considerations due to its proximity to Thyspunt, said he was dismayed that the CDC was not “pumping this much energy into making the Bay a renewables [energy] hub for Africa”.

He said the government was pursuing a nuclear facility which would be outdated by the time it went into operation in 10 to 15 years’ time.

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